2010 Year In Review: DSL A's Pitchers

Our "2010 Year In Review" series continues with a look at the pitching staff for the Oakland A's Dominican Summer League affiliate.

DSL A's Pitching At A Glance
Team ERA: 4.22 (7th worst in the league)
Strike-outs/Walks: 490/317 (roughly middle of the pack for both)
Team WHIP: 1.41 (9th worst in the league)

Note: this article covers all pitchers who threw at least 10 innings for the DSL A's this season.

The DSL A's finished seven games under the .500 mark at 32-39 and 11 games out of first place. Despite having some talented arms on staff, the DSL A's hurlers were fairly mediocre overall. The staff had six shut-outs on the season, but no complete games. Robinson De Los Santos led the team with 62.1 innings stretched over 14 games (12 starts). Walks were an issue for many of the DSL A's hurlers, as they allowed fewer than one hit per inning, but nearly one and a half base-runners per inning as a staff.

De Los Santos was the unequivocal staff ace. He led the team in innings pitched, strike-outs (77), WHIP (0.93), starts (12) and was third in ERA (1.73). He also didn't allow a homerun and he held opposing batters to a .162 average. In his final start of the season, De Los Santos didn't allow a hit in five innings pitched. The lanky 20-year-old seems likely to make the jump to the US next season.

Rene Merestil was second to De Los Santos in starts with nine, but it was a rough season for the left-hander. He posted a 9.17 ERA in 36.1 innings, allowing 41 hits and 33 walks. On the upside, he did strike-out 46 and he didn't allow a homer. Merestil looked to be on the verge of a break-out in 2009 when he posted a 2.10 ERA and struck-out 58 in 60 innings for the DSL A's. He will need a rebound season in 2011.

Edward Almonte finished second on the staff in innings pitched with 60. He made 18 appearances, six of them starts. The 20-year-old right-hander had a 3.00 ERA and held opposing batters to a .227 average. He kept his walks relatively in check with 22, but he struck-out only 32 batters. His ground-out to fly-out ratio was a solid 1.52 and he allowed only one homerun.

Right-hander Victor Trinidad served as the DSL A's closer for much of the season, recording a team-high 10 saves. The 19-year-old was very difficult to hit (.178 BAA), but he walked 19 in only 31.2 innings. He did strike-out 34. Trinidad is a flyball pitcher, but he allowed only one homerun.

Anderson Fortuna tossed a career-high 38.1 innings. The right-hander posted a 2.82 ERA in six relief appearances and five starts. He held opposing batters to a .209 average and he struck-out 26, but he walked 19. In 89.2 career innings in the DSL, Fortuna has yet to allow a homerun.

Carlos Navas was 17 for much of the season, making him one of the youngest pitchers on the DSL A's staff. It was an impressive professional debut for the Venezuelan right-hander. In 43.1 innings spread over seven relief appearances and five starts, Navas had a team-best 1.66 ERA. He allowed only 30 hits and walked 15 while striking-out out 30. Navas is likely to spend next season in the Dominican Summer League, but another impressive campaign should book his ticket for the US in 2012.

When Trinidad wasn't closing, the DSL A's often turned to Luis Jose in the late innings. The reliever finished 16 games and he recorded four saves and five wins. In 42.1 innings, Jose had a 2.76 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He posted a solid 44:14 K:BB ratio and held opposing batters to a .221 average. The 6'4'' right-hander may get a chance in the US after five seasons in the DSL. He turned 23 this month.

Fernando Cruzado, Andres Astacio and Jose Castillo tied with Almonte for the third-most starts on staff with six each. Cruzado struggled, posting a 5.98 ERA in 43.2 innings. He walked 25 and hit seven batters while also allowing three homeruns. The 20-year-old especially struggled against left-handers, allowing a .375 BAA. Castillo also struggled with his command, walking nearly as many as he struck-out (25 walks against 27 strike-outs). He also hit five batters. His ERA was 4.28 in 27.1 innings. Astacio was better, especially with his command. He was 19 for much of the season and he posted a 3.69 ERA with a 28:6 K:BB ratio in 39 innings. He didn't allow a homer and had a 1.83 ground-out to fly-out rate.

Alexis Juma made only four appearances (all starts), but he pitched well in those 20 innings. He allowed only 14 hits and four walks and he struck-out 19 while posting a 2.25 ERA. Jose Azor also made a strong impact in limited appearances. He posted an 0.95 ERA in 19 innings. He allowed 20 hits, but he walked only five. Azor was supposed to pitch in the US this season, but visa trouble kept him in the Dominican.

Cristhian Perez tied for third on the team in appearances with 18. The Venezuelan right-hander was 18 for the entire regular season and was making his professional debut. He posted a 5.68 ERA in 31.2 innings, striking out 29 and walking 15. He had a reverse split, struggling against right-handed batters (.316 BAA), while limiting left-handers (.226 BAA).

Despite pitching only 18.2 innings, Alex Nolasco had the dubious achievement of finishing second on the staff in walks with 28. Nolasco still managed a 3.38 ERA thanks to a .141 BAA. Only 19 for the entire regular season, Nolasco will likely get a third season in the DSL to figure out his command issues.

William Bautista is another young pitcher who is still trying to find his command. The left-hander, who was 18 for most of the regular season, walked 21 and allowed an incredible 50 hits in only 35.1 innings this season. He made 17 appearances, all but one coming out of the bullpen. Bautista was signed by the A's as a 16-year-old in 2008 and he has walked 47 in 84.2 innings over the past three years and opposing batters have hit better than .320 against him.

Like Bautista, Kevin Rodriguez was just 18 at the start of the season. The left-hander threw only 10.2 innings, striking out 10, walking five and posting a 6.75 ERA. He made six appearances. A's Minor League Pitching Coordinator Gil Patterson was impressed with Rodriguez's breaking ball and feel for his pitches in general, so Rodriguez could be a candidate to jump to the US next season if he has a strong Instructional League and spring training.

Leonel Benzant threw 19 innings before being suspended as part of minor league baseball's drug enforcement policy. The right-hander was battling serious control issues before the suspension, with 24 walks and only 11 strike-outs in those 19 innings.

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